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Shatner’s Toupee

Despite my Yul Brynner avatar, I need to say at the outset that I have a full head of hair in real life. So I suppose I can’t really identify with the follicly impaired, and I probably have no right to say anything on this subject. But when has that stopped me before?

So here it goes:

There is nothing more masculine than baldness.

Yul Brynner was a pioneer in this area, demonstrating that baldness could actually be a babe magnet. Yul naturally had a full head of hair but shaved it off daily to give him his sleek, aerodynamic scalp. This isn’t a look that everyone can pull off, but it’s much better than trying to compensate for hair loss by artificial means.

Which leads me to my second generalization:

There is no such thing as a good toupee.

In the first place, everyone knows you’re wearing a toupee. They don’t ever match the remainder of your hair; they look wooden and don’t move naturally with the rest of your head. It’s embarrassing for everyone involved. The toupee wearer has embarrassingly announced that they’re too vain to accept their baldness, and each toupee viewer is forced to pretend that they don’t notice, which makes them feel uncomfortable, too. It’s a bad scene that’s best avoided.

Which leads me to my latest discovery – my favorite blog on the web:

The Shatner’s Toupee Blog.

William Shatner has long been an icon of mine, and his toupee history is the worst-kept secret in Hollywood. In fact, he still, to this day, refuses to admit publicly that he wears a rug. (Actually, as the blog persuasively demonstrates, he’s no longer toupeed, as he had a significant hair transplant sometime around 2000.)

The reasons for Shatner’s toupee use are actually valid. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, the baldness stigma was too much for anyone not named Yul Brynner, and it was impossible to be a leading man without a luxurious mane. (That changed by the ‘80s, when, in a cruel irony, a bald-yet-toupeed captain of the Enterprise was replaced by the bald-is-beautiful Patrick Stewart.)

So Shatner’s toup was born of necessity, and in the first two seasons of Star Trek, he almost defies generalization #2: his toup looks very natural, because it was applied every morning with lace, giving the appearance of a real hairline instead of a hair hat. The problem is that now that Trek has been remastered in HD, you can clearly – and distractingly – see the lace line on the top of his scalp. Something happened between Trek seasons 2 and 3, though – with the lower budgets of the final year of the original series, they didn’t seem able to spring for a decent toup. His dark and heavy rug looks much ruggier.

After Trek, Shatner’s personal fortunes were soured by unemployment and divorce, making it impossible to finance a decent wig.

All this and more is clearly documented at, which is updated on an almost daily basis. You would think you’d run out of crap to say about a guy’s toupee, but they always manage to come up with something new and interesting. In addition – and this is important – they manage to do all this while maintaining genuine affection for William Shatner. The blog is free of cruelty, which is no small feat, considering how easy it would be to ridicule the subject.

I’ve added this blog to the top of my blogroll down below. I recommend you visit it often, especially if you’re thinning on top and are tempted to take Shatnerian measures to correct that.

Don’t do it!

Remember, only the manliest of men go bald.

The Invention of Lying, Atheism, and POUNDS
The Burden of Proof

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  1. “In the ‘50s and ‘60s, the baldness stigma was too much for anyone not named Yul Brynner, and it was impossible to be a leading man without a luxurious mane.”

    Ever hear of Telly Savalas there Kojak?

  2. I saw that as Goks picture and it took me forever to realize it was William Shatner. And even then I thought it had been altered for comic effect. Apparently I have been fooled lo these many years.

  3. It HAS been altered for comic effect. THis is a Photoshopped suggestion of what Shatner looks like absent any hairpieces/toupees/transplants.

    Shatner has not allowed himself to be photographed bald – ever.

    At the Shatner’s Toupee blog, you can see some early pictures of him when his hair was thinning, but once full baldness set in, he kept his scalp under wraps, so to speak.

  4. “Yes. He came to fame with Kojak, which ran from 1973-1978.”

    Yes the pinnacle of his fame was with Kojak in the 70s but he had plenty of memorable roles in the 60s from such movies as the “the Dirty Dozen”, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, and “Birdman of Alcatraz” where he got nominated for a best supporting actor oscar.

  5. Some Guy, you’re quite right, except none of those would be considered traditional leading man roles. I’m certainly not suggesting that there were no prominent bald actors; I’m saying they mainly played heavies or character parts.

  6. Good point, he was either a villian or in a supporting role in those films and not the leading man. I see your what you mean.

  7. Widening things out a bit to the shatters toup blog, has anyone got any idea what happened to it? It was on hiatus until early January when it came back briefly but now seems to have disappeared completely.

  8. Shatner’s toupee has been marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet … Buried alive! Buried alive!